Grjótagjá – Iceland - Atlas Obscura
Grjótagjá is permanently closed.


This volcanic cave lake is essentially hard proof that Iceland is the most magical place on Earth. 


We get it Iceland. Every inch of your serene volcanic landscapes is filled with beauty and is very likely hiding some secret natural wonder. Like this fissure in the ground, instead of opening to a deadly abyss, it holds the natural hot spring known as Grjótagjá, a stunning cave pool that people can bathe in. 

The beautiful natural hot spring is located near Lake Mývatn and has been used as a bathing spot for locals for as long as anyone can remember. The waters in the shimmering cavern are heated by volcanic activity deep in the earth, making it the perfect spot to take a dip in the freezing Icelandic winters. In addition to being a popular bathing spot, the cave served as a redoubt for 18th-century Icelandic outlaw Jón Markússon.

In 1975, when one of the nearby volcanoes began to erupt, the water temperature rose to dangerous levels, and while the cave in the fissure could still be visited, people were no longer permitted to bathe in the hot waters. Lately, the temperature of the waters has begun to fall once again and people are being allowed to jump in the waters once again. However, the status of the pools seems to be a bit tenuous so visitors may want to check with local guides before trying to take a dip.

The cave is beautiful and fantastical that it actually made its way into the fantasy canon when it was used as the secret sex cave where Jon Snow sealed his deal with Ygritte, in the Game of Thrones season three episode, Kissed by Fire. Great job Iceland, you no longer simply seem like something out of a fantasy novel, you actually are.      

Update: As of July 2019, the site has reopened to visitors, however, bathing is still not permitted. 

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